We're excited about this new program for drawing beautiful mathematical designs. Can you work out how we made our first few pictures and, even better, share your most elegant solutions with us?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and
reasoning to agree a final product.
Two boats travel up and down a lake. Can you picture where they
will cross if you know how fast each boat is travelling?
This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .
What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?
Can you make sense of the charts and diagrams that are created and used by sports competitors, trainers and statisticians?
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
A cube is made from smaller cubes, 5 by 5 by 5, then some of those
cubes are removed. Can you make the specified shapes, and what is
the most and least number of cubes required ?
I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of
Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times
would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?
A bicycle passes along a path and leaves some tracks. Is it
possible to say which track was made by the front wheel and which
by the back wheel?
Glarsynost lives on a planet whose shape is that of a perfect
regular dodecahedron. Can you describe the shortest journey she can
make to ensure that she will see every part of the planet?
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What
movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of
procedures will help - variables not essential.
The reader is invited to investigate changes (or permutations) in the ringing of church bells, illustrated by braid diagrams showing the order in which the bells are rung.
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Two angles ABC and PQR are floating in a box so that AB//PQ and BC//QR. Prove that the two angles are equal.
Use a single sheet of A4 paper and make a cylinder having the greatest possible volume. The cylinder must be closed off by a circle at each end.
A game for 2 players
The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two
animals shown here.
A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post.
There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can
tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret
the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will
be produced using different wheels?
The triangle ABC is equilateral. The arc AB has centre C, the arc
BC has centre A and the arc CA has centre B. Explain how and why
this shape can roll along between two parallel tracks.
This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .
Bilbo goes on an adventure, before arriving back home. Using the
information given about his journey, can you work out where Bilbo
If all the faces of a tetrahedron have the same perimeter then show that they are all congruent.
An irregular tetrahedron has two opposite sides the same length a
and the line joining their midpoints is perpendicular to these two
edges and is of length b. What is the volume of the tetrahedron?
In this problem we are faced with an apparently easy area problem,
but it has gone horribly wrong! What happened?
A square of area 3 square units cannot be drawn on a 2D grid so that each of its vertices have integer coordinates, but can it be drawn on a 3D grid? Investigate squares that can be drawn.
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you
work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall
and work out a way they might fit together?
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
This is an interactive net of a Rubik's cube. Twists of the 3D cube become mixes of the squares on the 2D net. Have a play and see how many scrambles you can undo!
A visualisation problem in which you search for vectors which sum
to zero from a jumble of arrows. Will your eyes be quicker than
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Find the point whose sum of distances from the vertices (corners)
of a given triangle is a minimum.
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex (corner) and
allowing it to hang freely. Now imagine you are lowering it into
water until it is exactly half submerged. What shape does the
surface. . . .
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
Two intersecting circles have a common chord AB. The point C moves
on the circumference of the circle C1. The straight lines CA and CB
meet the circle C2 at E and F respectively. As the point C. . . .